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I am a simple country girl who loves life and lives it to the fullest. I cook for one of the greatest families ever. Cooking is my passion and I consider it as well to be my gift.

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Monday, December 21, 2009


Years ago I cooked for an elderly couple from Vero Beach, Florida, in Grandfather Golf & Country Club. They were some of the nicest people I had ever met and always sat with me in the kitchen when I was cooking. We took to each other right off, and they had traveled the world, as he he was an engineer, and also played the big bass guitar in The Big Bands. I learned a lot about cooking during that phase of my career, particularly from her. I had never cooked veal before, or a risotto. I learned the fine art of cooking both of these dishes as well as others.
She had requested beef stew for the nights dinner and I had bought the ingredients and just beginning to fry-out the meat when she made a suggestion to my technique. She said, "Fry it out in batches until it's really browned well. This will make it more tender as it cooks in the sauce." So I 'put a turn on it", fried each piece to almost, but not quite, a crispness. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Now every time I make beef stew, I fry it out just like she taught me to. It has never failed to please.

1/3 cup canola oil
3 lbs. beef chuck, cut extra-lean in 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup sliced celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 (8oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup red wine, I use more
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
6 small potatoes, pared and halved
6 medium carrots, pared and cut into 2-inch pieces
6 onions, peeled and quartered
1 Tbsp. flour

In hot oil in Dutch oven, brown beef cubes WELL on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add next 3 ingredients and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Return beef to pan. Add next 9 ingredients and 2 cups water to pan. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 1 1/4 hours. Add vegetables, and simmer, covered, 1 hour, or until tender. Remove from heat. Skim off fat. Mix flour with 2 tablespoons cold water and stir into beef mixture. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Serve with crusty bread.
Serves 6.

"I would like to find a stew that will give me heartburn immediately, instead of at three o'clock in the morning."~John Barrymore

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